A side-by-side knock out regatta on the reach, over 1100m
Sat 17th February
A Good Day for 1st & 3rd
All six men's VIIIs and the 1st women's VIII raced in the popular Pembroke Regatta. The women did very well to beat Girton, losing out to a strong Emma Crew on round two. The second and third men both made the sem-finals of M2, the third VIII performing particularly well to beat three 2nd VIIIs in the process, and the other lower boats also performed well against higher crews. Finally, the men's 1st VIII enjoyed beating Caius for the second time in two days, but were disappointed to lose out in a good scrap with Emmanuel in the final.
Sat in the car park at the P&E before the race, we were aware that it would take something special to beat Caius... and it did.
On the meadow side, there is a bush that sticks out into the river a few metres upstream of the Pembroke start. Caius had pushed us wide on the start and as we tried to avoid a blade clash, Tom's blade clipped it. It really disrupted the boat at a crucial part of the race and Caius pulled ahead. We rallied and up the reach began to move back ever so slightly. It seemed like everything was going in slow motion though - I distinctly remember two swans in the calm water between the two eights, angrily avoiding the race churning up the water around them.
Under the railway bridge we were back to two seats down; two strokes later we were level, and as we had planned before the race Steph began calling their seats as she overtook them. As she reached their bows she asked us to kill them for clear water; we did.
Approaching the finish the last bend allowed Caius to pull back but by then it was academic. We had rowed through Caius, just weeks before they would start behind us in the Lents. At the line, Tom collapsed onto my ankles, I was left shouting gratitude at Steph. It was a massive high. (Simon)
After moving on Caius off the start, we had an encounter with some undergrowth by the railings. The crew held together well and, having given Caius about a half a length, we moved back on terms through to the railway bridge and took full advantage of the bend in our favour to move almost a length in front through to Morley's Halt. The bend moved into Caius' favour, and they crept back slightly to perhaps two thirds of a length by the finish.
Another reasonable start saw us take a seat or two early on. Cruising higher than in previous races, we were moving fast but tired limbs had little to give through the railway bridge. We lost composure allowing Emma to take a lead of around two thirds of a length by Morley's Halt, when a misjudgement of the corner in the failing light saw us hit the inside of the final bend. We paddled over the line to complete an exhausting day. (Jon)
Girton beat us by almost a minute in the Head-2-Head, and so probably thought they would have an easy race. However, the row was powerful and determined - with a real feeling of 'we will not be beaten' in the crew. It showed we have really come on this term.
After a quick malt loaf lunch ATBH we were back in action. They had a very quick start, and soon were about half a length up to us, but our focus remained in our own boat and we started to come back at them. Coming into the railway bridge we were about level, there was a bit of a blade clash and we pulled ahead to win by about half a length - a hard but very satisfying race.
After the action with Maggie we were cold, wet and tired, but off the start with Emma we had some of our best rowing of the day. Unfortunately though they pulled away and won the race. Overall the day's racing was useful to identify our strengths and weaknesses to provide a focus for next week's bumps preparation. (Chris)
Definitely our worst race all day as we had an OK start and then splashed our way all down the reach probably over-rating. We were on the meadow side and Corpus were only about 1-1.5 lengths off us up until the Railway bridge where we pulled ahead. Everyone agreed straight after the race that it was a bad row.
After a lot of discussion regarding our start, wind and settle, we decided we should try and reach a better racing rhythm this race. Racing on the towpath side, we set off at the same frantic pace as the last race until urged to "Relax!". It seemed to work and we had a storming row up to the railway bridge with things dropping off a bit near the end.
Again the meadow side, this was our best row. It was a very close race with us moving ahead by a length after a minute. We kept a very good race pace with nice timing all the way up to Morley's Holt when the bend started to favour Pembroke. They came back at us strongly but we had started to respond when we had a very bad clash of blades. Phil's seat got knocked so he couldn't slide and Pete caught a crab. We were forced to stop rowing briefly and Pembroke set off and crossed the line only to discover they had been disqualified.
Again on the meadow side, we had a decent start but still lost about a length and a half to them. We maintained distance from there all the way home, taking the rating up to something ridiculous by the end for one last push, but it was all in vain. (Dan)
We pulled away right from the start and increased our lead throughout the course of the race, eventually winning by about 3 or 4 lengths. Our good start set things up well for the remainder of the race - the rowing was nice and "chunky" throughout, and we disposed of our opponents in a rather pleasing clinical fashion.
Our hour-long wait in the cold gave us some time to analyse our victory over Downing, and we all decided that it was our strong, controlled style that had won us that race. Fortified by this thought, we rowed down to the other end of the reach to line up against Maggie. Unfortunately, the same tactics were not to work, and they pulled away from us gradually throughout the race, much the same as we did to Downing. So, it seems their superior fitness won them the race - maybe we need to spend more hours in the gym. But then, we are the fourth VIII.... (H.W. Clouting)
Started reasonably well... I think they may have been pulling away slightly over the first 10 strokes but there was very little in it. Then Bow's (Matthew Bennet's) seat came off the slide. It took him until a bit before the railway bridge before he got it back on so the ground we lost whilst rowing with six men was too much to get back. Apparently we lost by a couple of lengths but given the incident I don't think that was too bad. (Alan Doyle)
What was heartening to see was the excellent fighting spirit of the crew and their willingness to fight until the very end. (H. Ballmann)
In a dramatic race, a 1 length deficit was converted to a 1 length lead courtesy of some excellent rowing and the opposition stopping for a bit. In the final third of the race, however, Caius superior power eased them ahead to a relatively comfortable win
Our sixth boat could hardly have asked for a tougher first round draw, but battled admirably against Caius III. Caius pulled away to a lead of about two lengths as we approached the railway bridge but then one of their crew caught a crab and FaT VI sailed past to take a lead of about a length. A really big effort at this stage meant that there was little to choose between the crews with 200m to go, at which stage Caius's superior strength and fitness saw them pull away to win by about three lengths. A valiant row from probably the best sixth boat in the world. (Flying)
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